When Geoff Petrie traded Omri Casspi and a conditional first round pick for J.J. Hickson prior to the 2011 NBA Draft, it seemed like a clear victory for the Kings. I mean, how often do 22 year old “big men” who averaged 14/9 in just 28 minutes a game go on the market, let alone for a discount price like Omri Casspi and a highly protected draft pick?
Petrie is notorious for taking problem children and turning them into productive, solid players. With a very respectable trade record, it was hard to think the Kings got the raw end of that deal but I guess as the old adage goes, if it’s too good to be true – it probably is.
J.J. Hickson had his problems in Cleveland. That’s not to say he wasn’t a charming guy or a bad teammate, it’s just that he continually butted heads with the coaching staffs during his tenure. Per Jason Lloyd:
I like JJ. A lot. But his lack of focus drove both Mike Brown and Byron Scott absolutely crazy. I asked Byron late last season if JJ had done enough to secure a spot in this rebuild. His answer? “I’m not sure yet.” If Scott wasn’t sure after about 76 games, I knew JJ’s time in Cleveland was ending.
Byron Scott, who coached Hickson last year, more or less threw J.J. under the bus, making sure to back up and run over him a few more times before J.J. departed to Sacramento citing his poor work ethic, hustle, desire, among many other things. The end result was Hickson getting traded because he was “unhappy” in Cleveland:
“I’m not adjusting very good,” he said. “I don’t think it’s any secret. Coach [Byron Scott] knows I’m not happy. My teammates know I’m not happy. But as a professional basketball player, you deal with it as a pro.”
Yes, very professional. Of course, this is the same player who just weeks ago essentially put Sacramento on blast and yearned for his former dwellings in Cleveland, which months earlier he despised.
So now we come back to yesterday, when Cowbell Kingdom’s Jon Santiago caught up with Hickson as his tenure with the Kings came to an end:
CK: Did you have your agent request a trade on your behalf to the Kings front office?
Hickson: Like I said, I felt like it was the best decision for both (sides) and that’s something we did. But, as far as trades, that was something that my agent was talking to the team about. I didn’t go into the front office and demand or request anything. But that was one of our options as far as what was best for me and the team.
So, let me get this straight. You’ve essentially made three coaching staffs irritated which resulted in a benching (of some form) in all the said scenarios. You’ve been outplayed by your counterparts, which resulted in decreased time in all the said scenarios and in your two NBA stops in Cleveland and Sacramento, you’ve pretty much forced your way out because you were “unhappy” – namely because you were outplayed and weren’t given the job, you had to earn it which you couldn’t do.
Oh, okay, I get it now.
Look – I don’t dislike the person. J.J. seems like a swell guy, but you have to know your role and the only thing bigger than the blunder of a game he currently has is his head.
There’s a lot of talent in that body, but that head is currently a lost cause.
Good luck Mr. Hickson, I think you’re going to need it.